Preston North End manager Alex Neil has poured cold water on any potential new recruits for his squad as the January transfer window looms.
The Lilywhites were humiliated on their trip to Luton Town yesterday, as Ireland international James Collins burst the bubble of North End with a clinical hat-trick.
Neil’s outfit were on a good run before their trip to Bedfordshire, taking seven points out of a possible nine but Luton’s demolition job put a dampener on fans’ spirits.
And it can’t possibly help matters that a number of key players are yet to sign new contracts with the transfer window right around the corner.
Ben Pearson, Ben Davies, captain Alan Browne, Jamaica international Daniel Johnson and Darnell Fisher are just five regular first-teamers whose contracts are set to expire in the summer, with some supports expecting the majority of those to not be with the Lilywhites next season.
Peter Ridsdale admitted that deals are on the table for all those out of contract players, whether they get signed off though remains to be seen.
Trying to keep those players is one thing, but fans believe more investment in the first-team squad is needed and Neil has hinted at that himself in recent times, but his most recent comments that came following the Luton drubbing paints a completely different story.
AN asked if he needs help in January: "Don't even get me started on that, let's focus on keeping the players we've currently got." #pnefc
— George Hodgson (@GHodgsonSport) December 12, 2020
If you take Neil’s words literally, then it seems as though the upcoming window will figure around keeping the out of contract players North End currently have on their books rather than looking for new recruits.
That will be a huge concern to fans who believe that fresh players are needed instead of focusing on some players who may already see a future away from Deepdale, like Ben Davies who is reportedly set on running down his contract.
This isn’t the update that Preston fans would want to see ahead of what is going to be a huge month for their future.
As the days get closer to the end of players contracts, the less likely they are to re-sign, so there’s big decisions that need to be made in regards to the likes of Pearson, Davies and Johnson who will no doubt have interest from bigger clubs.
But the fans are desperate to see fresh players brought into the fold and on the face of it, that doesn’t seem so likely in January when you take into account Neil’s comments and Preston owner Trevor Hemmings’ track record in investing in the playing squad.